During this fall semester, Freed-Hardeman University students have been busy with more than just schoolwork. A typical college student’s schedule is usually full of classwork and social events, but these students made sure to set aside time to give back to their local community and beyond.
Many students on campus have created close relationships with local families.
One particular social club, Phi Kappa Alpha, has a long-standing relationship with Don and Linda Sue Gover. Every Thursday afternoon, the club drives to their house for cookies and time away from the stress of school. The Govers have provided the club with love and support; in return, the club makes sure to take care of them physically and spiritually.
Earlier this summer, Linda Gover was bitten by a brown recluse spider. Due to the nature of the bite, she was in and out of the hospital for treatment. During this stressful time, the students of Phi Kappa Alpha wanted to help them out. The officers of Phi Kappa Alpha and the presidents of other clubs on campus came together and planned a dodgeball tournament to raise money to help support the couple. The school-wide event with more than 200 students in attendance raised about $1,300 for the Govers.
Another student who has been hard at work giving back is Addie Harrison, a senior special education major from Florence, Alabama. She organized her second Paint for a Purpose in early September. Each year Paint for a Purpose supports a different cause. This year, the event raised funds to help with an adoption by missionaries Lauren and Gavin Pinkston, both FHU alumni. The event raised about $1,000 to help the Pinkstons pay court fees and post-adoption report fees associated with the adoption of their daughter Hope from Uganda.
Harrison also helped organize Buddy Ball, a one-day basketball camp for kids and teens with special needs, during the fall semester. Students from all over campus came out on a Saturday to participate in the camp. Each worked with a different participant and cheered for them as they played. Each participant received a T-shirt.
Freed-Hardeman also has several professional clubs on campus. Social Work Students in Action, or SWSA, has been highly involved with campus events. They conducted a bake sale to raise funds for the Exchange Club-Carl Perkins Child Abuse Center. The objective of the center is to support families in preventing and dealing with child abuse in West Tennessee.
The club also hosted a fall festival for area children at the center. The club set up different stations with games, gave out candy and provided healthy food options such as sandwiches, apples and fruit juice. The club also hosted a Thankful Thursday to show appreciation to FHU’s cafeteria workers.
In addition to helping locally, students have supported other causes outside of Henderson. Sophomore marketing major Savannah McGraw runs a campaign against sex trafficking called Can’t Be Bought. The issue was brought to her attention when she was required to write a research paper in her English composition class. Dr. Neil Segars asked his class to pick a controversial foreign topic and write a five- to seven-page paper about it. McGraw chose sex trafficking in India.
As she researched her topic, McGraw realized that sex trafficking is a worldwide issue. Moved by what she had learned, she felt compelled to do something about it. McGraw kick started her campaign May 22, 2016, and called it Can’t Be Bought. Through the campaign, McGraw sells bracelets and other jewelry. So far, Can’t Be Bought has raised approximately $3,500 in sales. All of the proceeds go to Direct Connect Humanitarian Aid and their efforts to stop sex trafficking. Additional information about Can’t Be Bought and Direct Connect Humanitarian Aid is available at www.cantbeboughtcampaign.com.
Two other students have also been involved with an organization outside of Henderson. Annah Smith, freshman public relations and photography major, and Morgan Lanza, junior public relations major, hosted a haunted trail in October. The event sought to raise money for Run4Water, which raises money through 24-hour and 5K races to build wells in the United States, Africa and Central and South America. These wells help people who do not have access to clean drinking water.
In keeping with the organization’s theme, Smith and Lanza called the event Scare4Water. The haunted trail on the FHU Cross Country team’s practice course raised about $600.
These events are just a glimpse into the many opportunities Freed-Hardeman students are seizing. Many other students work tirelessly to support the causes near and dear to their hearts. Freed-Hardeman aims to produce caring students who have a passion for serving others.
"I am amazed at the amount of energy our students put into helping others and the causes they believe in. It is refreshing to see such sweet spirits and their desire to help,” Dr. Wayne Scott, FHU vice president of student services, said. He, in addition to the rest of the faculty and staff at Freed-Hardeman, is proud of how the students embody the mission of Christ. Through their initiative and hard work, students continue to impact the community and the world.